Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
3 As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble ones
in whom is all my delight.
This week we will spend time in Psalm 16, a song of David. He begins by acknowledging his need for God to be his place of safety, his guide, his provider, and the one who brings others into his life to influence and encourage him in his faith. What a great way to start the year, reminding ourselves of our complete dependence on a God who can and will be all we need.
- As you begin another year, what from these verses do you need God to be for you?
- How easy is it to say to God, You are my Lord? What does that mean for you?
- Where are you experiencing the delight of other who are following God?
Gracious God, it is your presence in our lives and protects, guides, and provides for us. We confess our tendency to ourselves credit for things that are gifts from you. Help us to look to you for all we need to be your faithful followers, and to reflect your character to those around us in ways that uplift and encourage. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
4 Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names upon my lips.
5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
I have a goodly heritage.
David speaks to what he has observed in others, but it could also stem from his own experience of choosing other gods. We all struggle at times as we are drawn to put our allegiance in other people and/or things that in the end only bring grief. David overcomes those urges in his own life by leaning into, with gratitude, his God and the infinitely richer present and future that is promised in God alone.
- Where do you find yourself going when you feel far away from God?
- What practices do you have to keep yourself satisfied with God’s provision?
- How have the boundary lines fallen for you in pleasant places?
Gracious God, there are so many ways that we can wander off and look for fulfillment outside of your presence. Pull us back by your mercy and give us the posture of gratitude that keeps before us your rich provision for us, both now and in the future. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
7 I bless the Lord, who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
David expresses his realization that God is always with him, actively counseling, instructing, and protecting him. Even in his sleep, God is working in his heart. It puts a significant value on our sleep, imagining God’s continued work through the night. And David’s assurance that God is at his right hand gives him the confidence to step into the day without fear.
- How easy is it for you to maintain awareness of God’s continued presence?
- How do you prepare yourself for God’s continued work at night?
- What does it mean for you that you “shall not be moved?”
Gracious God, I thank you that you are always with and actively at work in my life. I entrust my thoughts, actions, and attitudes into your care, believing that you are transforming me in ways that I don’t always see. Give me a growing awareness of your presence in all I do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
my body also rests secure.
10 For you do not give me up to Sheol
or let your faithful one see the Pit.
David experiences his trust in God in his heart, soul, and body. Sometimes we keep our faith in one place, relying on what we know, or what we feel to assure us of our acceptance by God. But David reminds us that God’s active presence in our lives is all-encompassing and we are invited to experience it in every part of our being.
- How do you experience trust in God throughout your heart, soul, and body?
- Which of these seems most difficult for you to experience?
- How does it feel to be free from fear of destruction?
Gracious God, we confess our western viewpoint can get in the way of accepting your invitation to trust with our body, soul, and spirit. Help us to experience you more deeply and in new ways as we spend time letting your words of promise sink into us. May we feel the joy and security of your sure presence each day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
11 You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
In this psalm, David is wrapped up in the reality of God’s presence and active work in every aspect of his life. David finds the path of life through his attention to God and experiences joy and eternal pleasures, pleasures that begin here in the present and continue into eternity. This is a beautiful description of a life well-lived.
- What do you want to take with you from this psalm? Where do you desire God to be actively working in your life?
- What do the pleasures that God offers look like for you?
- What do you want to ask God for at the end of the first week of the new year?
Gracious God, we are humbled by and grateful for your promise of being not only present but active in our lives, protecting, guiding, sustaining, and bringing us joy. Help us to shed the “what ifs” and “am I enough” questions that keep us from whole-hearted acceptance of You. Continue to transform us by your love that we might reflect the same compassionate love to those around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.